Your move, Warren

The Tories have been criticized lately for putting their party logo on some non-negotiable jumbo novelty cheques. While I agree that the practice of associating party brand so explicitly with public money should stop, let’s remember that news is “man bites dog” not “dog bites man” and there are true masters of pushing the partisan envelope still around.

We see that Warren Kinsella’s old boss said something about pepper on his plate and the parliamentary press gallery had a chuckle and then hit Hy’s for some more vino. However, Andrew McIntosh and Joel-Denis Bellavance from the National Post were on the job and cast some light on Jean Chretien’s partisan abuse of public dollars.

PM comfortable using grants for partisan reasons: ‘nothing to be ashamed’

National Post
Sat Feb 19 2000
Page: A8
Section: News
Byline: Andrew McIntosh and Joel-Denis Bellavance
Column: In Ottawa ; in Quebec City
Dateline: OTTAWA; QUEBEC CITY
Source: National Post

OTTAWA and QUEBEC CITY – Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister, yesterday said his government had nothing to apologize for in seeking to reap maximum partisan political benefit from disbursing $1-billion worth of federal job grants across Canada each year.

He had always made sure since taking power in October, 1993, that voters were left in no doubt that it was his Liberals who were distributing such grants, he said.

“Listen,” he added, “we are the government … I don’t see why we can’t try to get credit for what we do. I hope we do so. There is nothing to be ashamed in that.”

Previously, Mr. Chretien and Jane Stewart, the Human Resources Minister, have insisted in Parliament that the $1-billion in grants for job creation, training, literacy and other projects were not allocated with the intention of gaining partisan advantage, but rather were designed to benefit ridings regardless of their political complexion.

The prime minister, joined by Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, told a news conference that increasing reports of the financial mismanagement at Human Resources Development Canada would not tarnish his government’s fiscal credibility.

The National Post reported yesterday that Peter Donolo, the prime minister’s former director of communications, created and ran a well-oiled public relations campaign to ensure that Liberals — ministers and MPs — took maximum credit for job creation grants across the country.

Job creation money is at the centre of accusations that Human Resources grants were mismanaged and improperly used as a slush fund to win votes and reward loyalists.

Opposition MPs were stunned by Mr. Chretien’s performance in Quebec City, saying that the Liberals will suffer politically if the prime minister continues to deny the seriousness of the HRDC mess.

“It’s pretty brazen,” said Diane Ablonczy, a Reform party MP form Calgary. “Clearly, Mr. Chretien has no shame or contrition for mismanaging taxpayers’ money and abusing the public trust. Canadians won’t forget that at election time.”

Peter MacKay, the Conservative House leader, said, “The prime minister has flipped his wig. He has demonstrated once again he is completely out of touch with reality and he is displaying increadible arrogance by trying to minimize this serious problem.”

Mr. Chretien conceded that there were “obvious” management problems at HRDC, which were condemned in a scathing departmental audit published last month, and that these must be rectified.

The prime minister said, “Of course, there are problems, but we have to place the problem in a certain perspective. We have to make regular adjustments on the basis of recommendations by those people who conduct the audit. It’s a huge department that has over 20,000 employees … There’s no doubt that it’s an extremely difficult department to manage. What strikes me is that no recipient has complained thus far. To go and say that it’s a scandal, one must not exaggerate.”

The prime minister denied, despite a number of documented cases, that Liberal MPs sought extra pre-election advantage by announcing new grants just before the 1997 general election and before the grants were officially approved.

In the House of Commons, the Liberals suffered another verbal pounding over the financial scandal. The opposition claimed that a newly disclosed 1997 review reveals that there was political interference in the approval of Transitional Jobs Fund projects. It showed, the opposition said, that the Liberals used the $100-million-a-year program to buy votes.

Aside from finding incompetence, the audit concluded that HRDC bureaucrats were pressured by political operatives to speed through approval for projects that “did not meet TJF elgibility criteria.” Several were found not to be failing to create jobs.

Mr. MacKay, the Nova Scotia Tory, questioned whether Ms Stewart could be trusted, saying: “Daily the minister of HRDC subjects Canadians to the sad spectacle of self-destruction with the documented mishandling and mismanagement of taxpayers money that was uncovered by the internal audit, the subsequent fallout, the spin-doctoring, the witholding of information, the manipulation of statistics and the sliding scale of eligibility.”

Ms. Stewart brushed off his call for her to resign. She later produced a letter showing that after she became HRDC minister, she removed herself from all decision-making about grants in her riding, Brant, Ont., by delegating her power to approve them to her top bureaucrat, Claire Morris, the HRDC deputy minister.

Comments

comments

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Hmmm… might be your browser settings or a problem with the 3rd party service I use.

  • m123T

    I am starting a folder for these insane reponses, to be reposted after our huge majority after the next election. See the headling at Bourque, Come Back Dion, all is forgiven. Iffy will never be PM of Canada, nor will Rae, or whoever comes next. Who are the lib candidates dropping like flies in Quebec, according to Lapier. (sp) No org in Quebec, no fundraiser, no one in charge.
    I imagine Dion is laughing at his party's backroom boys.
    Iffy, doesn't own a car, doesn't drive a car or a bike, going green (with envy), all he needs is the back pack and to lose a few inches in height to be a reincarnation of Dion.
    Re his height, he could ask that phony passport scammer how to do that.

  • terry1

    My browser is fine as I've also tried it on others like firefox and get the same result. I believe its your 3rd party supplier.

  • Rand09

    I'm all for an intelligent argument, but why allow this guy's drivel on your site. It simply bogs down the discussion into meaningless name calling. Like most socialists, he wants to shove his opinion down your throat without having anything to back it up. I get the impression terry1 is an adolescent by the language. Give the adults a break and ban him from your site and let the big boys continue the real discussion.

  • Jen

    Bruce, to add on:

    * 3 Maple plants were built to replace `chalk river` of which not one medical isotope was ever produced.
    * 4 english nuclear power submarines bought by Chretien in 1994 costing million of dollars, only one submarine is in active service ; the other three submarines are still at the `dry dock` expected cost of $45million to bring back to combat readiness.
    *40+million were transfered into LPOC from sponsorship Scandal.

    *

  • Bruce

    Then there was the case of the Liberals trying to sell the Ridley Island coal terminal at Prince Rupert, B.C. for pennies to their Liberal friends, fortunately the current PM and the Conservatives put a stop to that deal.

  • terry1

    Rand09…you are a sad joke and typical of the reformatory brand. If you can't get the better of someone you try and blow them away. All coward stuff.

    Get lost.

  • Rich

    it was Paul Martin that cancelled the contract with Spar Aerospace to repair the C130 transport planes and gave it to a Liberal riding in British Columbia: as a result there was 250 people laid off from Spar. Although we had a liberal MP in Anne MacClelland, Spar Aerospace was not in her riding but in the riding of a Conservative.

    Liberals with their feigned indignation over lack of stimulus money going to their ridings should be very careful, as things like this can come back to bite them in a…*

  • Rand09

    terry1 – thank you for taking the bait and adding the punctuation for point. I couldn’t have illustrated it better.

  • Yogi

    It amazed me while watching the pundits on Powerplay discuss the cheque issue and how the CPC shouldn't be taking credit for the projects across the country that Iggy was making a speech in Vancouver and pointed out that it was Chretien and Martin who brought the rail transit system to BC. If Iggy is implying that it was only the Liberals that were responsible for this under previous governments is it not fair for the Conservatives to imply that it is their party (agreed using taxpayers money) providing the economic support being realized across our nation?

  • terry1

    Playing with words is not good enough. The libs talked about a Liberal government doing things and make sure the it was the government who enacted those things and not the party per se. The tories have refined patronage to a lower level than anyone could imagine. That's enough for me.

  • Omanator

    Rando9 I whole hartely agree. The Troll's garbage is only clogging up the system and prevents us from having an honest discussion. Most of the time I just scroll down past his trash.

  • terry1

    Omananator show us some of the brilliant debating skills you have brought here. The level of debate would be higher if you could actually present ideas and not just lib bash. While Taylor is an unabashed Tory he will debate the argument and not just put down the drive by smear, which is what you and some of your fellow travelers do and were doing before I arrived here.

  • Omanator

    Rando9 I whole hartely agree. The Troll's garbage is only clogging up the system and prevents us from having an honest discussion. Most of the time I just scroll down past his trash.

  • terry1

    Omananator show us some of the brilliant debating skills you have brought here. The level of debate would be higher if you could actually present ideas and not just lib bash. While Taylor is an unabashed Tory he will debate the argument and not just put down the drive by smear, which is what you and some of your fellow travelers do and were doing before I arrived here.